NPR's Zero-Jobs Soundbites: Obama Aide, Former Obama Aide, Liberal Philly Mayor

There's a reason why Rush Limbaugh talks about "state-run media." On National Public Radio, Friday night's story on the embarrassing zero-jobs story included three experts for soundbites: current Obama economic spinner Gene Sperling, former Obama economic spinner Jared Bernstein, and the current Democrat Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, who blamed "senseless" congressional (read Republican) spending restraint.

It's not like NPR couldn't find a Republican anywhere to interview. Their view only came up when reporter Scott Horsley was discussing how reasonable Obama was being: "The administration's move to scrap smog regulations today could also be seen as an olive branch to Republicans and the business community." He didn't even say "proposed new smog regulations that would shut coal plants and cost more jobs." He just implied Republicans are pro-smog.

All Things Considered anchor Melissa Block strangely began by talking about the stakes for Obama, and forget the stakes for the jobless: "Also next week, President Obama will roll out his new jobs plan, and the stakes are higher than ever. The Labor Department said today the U.S. added no new jobs in the month of August. Some 14 million people are still out of work, and the unemployment rate remains stuck above 9 percent. NPR's Scott Horsley reports now on the obstacles the president faces in trying to turn those numbers around."

Horsley began by saying "After sputtering for much of the spring and summer, job growth ground to a halt in August. So far, that economic stagnation has been met with political paralysis." At least he mentioned the bad news that Gallup found only 25 percent approve of Obama's job on the economy, but then mentioned his "long-awaited" jobs speech. That would suggest someone still has hope he'll say something different.Then came the spinners:

HORSLEY: White House economic adviser Gene Sperling says Mr. Obama will call for new public works projects, tax cuts for workers and small businesses and opportunities for the long-term unemployed.

GENE SPERLING: When you see the details of this plan on Thursday, what will be very clear is that it would have a meaningful impact on creating jobs and strengthening the economy over the next 12 to 18 months.

HORSLEY: But it won't be easy to get anything meaningful through a deeply divided Congress. It was a struggle to reach agreement on the mere timing of the president's speech, let alone the content. The White House says it's concentrating on jobs measures that have won bipartisan backing in the past. But former vice presidential adviser Jared Bernstein, who's now with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, says that may not be enough.

JARED BERNSTEIN: If the president were to try to structure his jobs agenda based on what Republicans or House Republicans specifically would support, it's not going to be much of an agenda at all. So he and his team need to articulate the best plan to help people get back to work. And if the political system blocks that plan, then he has to explain to the American people who's standing between them and their economic opportunities right now.

HORSLEY: Mr. Obama said last month that if congressional Republicans reject his jobs plan, he'll take his case to the American people. But Sperling says next week's message will be a sincere effort at compromise, not a re-election campaign speech.

SPERLING: The goal here is not contrast. The goal is to get something done that can have a meaningful impact.

This is where the notion of journalistic skepticism collapses. NPR and Horsley don't mind being known as being gullible enough to project Obama, even after the bizarre attempt to schedule himself over the Republican presidential debate, as not making a "re-election campaign speech." NPR exists to project the Obama talking points, no matter how ridiculous they sound to the people at home or in their cars.

Horsley concluded by suggesting the Republicans have made everything worse by their focus on the debt problem, and conclude with "White House advisers" cautioning againstr reckless limitations on spending:

HORSLEY: Next week's focus on job growth marks a shift in Washington, after months devoted to deficit reduction. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter complained in a conference call today that in lawmakers' zeal to cut the deficit and federal block grants, they forced him to lay off city workers. Nationwide, government payrolls fell by 17,000 last month.

Mayor MICHAEL NUTTER: Congress is working against the interests of Philadelphians and Americans by many of the at times senseless actions that they take. While they sit in the bubble of Washington, the rest of America is in pain.

HORSLEY: White House advisers say cutting the deficit is still a long-term priority for the president. But they add it will be hard to do that unless the economy picks up, and more Americans go back to work.

These are your tax dollars at work...spinning for Barack Obama. Perhaps we should raise money for Scott Horsley to get a GPS system that finds Republican locations for interviews.

NPR also had a business story earlier in the newscast on the jobs report by John Ydstie -- which also had no Republicans or conservatives. It included Democrat-leaning economist John Silvia, Heidi Shierholtz of the liberal Economic Policy Institute, and a businessman who makes "Power Curbers" to make curbs and gutters who demands more infrastructure spending.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis